The EU referendum bill, having now passed through Parliament, faces only one final formality, receiving Royal assent, before it passes into law. The new legislation is of historic importance because it sets the ground rules for one of the biggest political contests in the modern history of Britain, governing the funding, the timing and the wording of the referendum. It will allow David Cameron to call a referendum as early as next summer, if he is minded to do so, with as little as 16 weeks’ notice. The government announced its original bill in the Queen’s Speech on May 27, 20 days after the Conservatives won the general election: it was introduced the day after.
After seven months of debate, knockabout and amendments in both the House of Commons and the Lords, there have been some significant alterations.
First, the wording of the referendum has changed, after the Electoral Commission warned the original question was subtly biased.
The government had wanted to ask: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” Now the public will have to answer a different question proposed by the commission. “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
Full Article: Ground rules set for landmark EU vote – FT.com.